Last month was super busy and December looks even busier. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cold winter ahead – perfect for curling up with your human and animal family and a great book!

Look for our Year End Book Review coming soon and enjoy the holidays and being together!


Marian Misters has been a co-owner of the Sleuth of Baker Street Mystery Bookstore for over 40 years. She has been an incredible supporter of Canadian crime writers and wonderful to the Mmes! Every one of our five anthologies has been launched at Sleuth.

Looking for a change from her career as an auditor, Marian and her partner bought the Sleuth in 1982. She was awarded the 2021 Derrick Murdoch Award for her contributions to the Canadian mystery community, has served as Jury Chair for the Awards of Excellence, reads lots and lots of mystery books, and is delighted to be an honorary Mme!

When you visit Toronto, be sure to visit Sleuth for the latest and best crime fiction books or to find that classic mystery you’ve been searching for. Be sure to say hello to Pixie and Prince, too.


Madona Skaff
Melissa Yi

The Maple Leaf Mystery Ottawa Virtual Mini-Conference takes place this Saturday, December 3rd from 9 am to 5 pm.

The conference features interviews with some of Canada’s best-known mystery writers and FOUR terrific panels of top authors, including Mmes Madona Skaff and Melissa Yi.

Melissa discusses short stories on the Get Shorty panel at 9:30 am and Madona talks about suspense at 5 pm on the Suspicious Minds panel.

Join the Crime Writers of Canada and Toronto Sisters in Crime on Monday, December 5th, 6:30 pm to celebrate the holidays at a virtual Festive Fete. (Event is for members of CWC and SinC only.)


Melissa Yi

The Surry Muse Arts Society announced the finalists for the 2022 Joy Kogawa Award for Fiction and Melissa Yi’s work, White Snow and Seven Dreams, is on the short-list, beating out more than 300 entrants!

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh’s article about the Mesdames of Mayhem and our new anthology, In the Spirit of 13, was featured on the leading crime fiction blog, Mysteryrat’s Maze.

Thank you to Lorie Ham of Kings River Life Magazine in the U.S.A.

Read Sylvia’s article here:

Lisa De Nikolits was interviewed by leading blog, The Open Book, last month. She talks about the great influence late Inanna editor, Luciana Ricciutelli, had on her career as a novelist.

Lisa honored Luciana with a dedication in her new novel, Everything You Dream is Real.

Read Lisa’s full interview here.


Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell’s new series, The Merry Widow Murders, published by Cormorant Books, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Publication date Spring, 2023!

The merry widow of an English earl finds a body in her stateroom. She must solve the murder or reveal her unusual past.

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi’s new Dr. Hope Sze series is based on the seven deadly sins.

The first book in the series, The Shapes of Wrath, launched last month at the Cornwall Public Library. It’s now available on Amazon!

Hell hath no fury like a surgeon scorned. Dr. Hope Sze must deal with Dr. Vrac, the scourge of the operating theatre. When patients begin to die under his scalpel, Hope goes into action.

Jayne Barnard
Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard’s story, “Lullaby at Lamas” is part of the new anthology, Prairie Witch, published by Prairie Soul West. The book is now available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

In the past, women who did not conform to subservient social norms were often called witches and condemned to death. Now women have reclaimed the word “witch” to symbolize female empowerment.

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh had two poems published on the blog, Writing in a Woman’s Voice: “(Chilean, Afghani, Ukrainian) Refugee” and “Krakow by Night”.

And she was invited to contribute to a new blog, Shepherd for Authors. The recently established website aims to connect readers and authors. Read Sylvia’s article, “The Best Holocaust Memoirs on What Real People Experienced” here.

Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken, too, was a guest blogger on Shepherd for Authors where she shared news about her writing career and Uncharted Waters, the latest book in her popular Pat Tierney series.

Shepherd also asked her to share her five favorite Canadian mysteries. Read Rosemary’s blog here.


The Zoom launch of In the Spirit of 13 featuring at least a dozen of the contributing Mesdames and Messieurs was recorded for Donna Carrick’s podcast, Dead to Writes. Watch here or on YouTube.

A HUGE thank you for managing the back room goes to techie super-hero, Ted Carrick!


The deadline for submissions to the Canadian Crime Writers Awards of Excellence is coming up fast on Thursday, December 15th. For submission rules, please consult CWC’s website here.

And you can’t win a lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, but even being longlisted for Otto Penzler’s Best Mystery Stories of the Year series is HUGE! Stories published this year must be received by December 31st. Mailing address: The Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren Street, New York NY 10007, U.S.A.

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NEWS FLASH! Maple Leaf Mini-Conference this Weekend!

The MLMC Ottawa virtual mini-conference takes place this weekend, Saturday, December 1st, starting 9 am. Register at Eventbrite here.

Join Mmes Madona Skaff and Melissa Yi for their panel discussions!

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NEWS FLASH! Authors on YouTube!

Our Zoom launch is now available on YouTube. Tune in and meet the authors!

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Greetings Readers!

November is this year’s busiest month if not one of our busiest months ever! We had a smashing success with our real-world launch of In the Spirit of 13 on Sunday, October 30th at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street.

Our Zoom launch takes place on November 13th, but lots and lots of more exciting things are happening. Read on!

Join the Mesdames of Mayhem for the cross-Canada Zoom launch of In the Spirit of 13 on Sunday, November 13th at 2 pm EST. Meet the authors and enjoy lively discussions. No masks are required but please pre-register at


The launch of In the Spirit of 13, our 5th anthology, Took place on Sunday, October 30th at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street. Mesdames and Messieurs in attendance: Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Donna Carrick, Lisa de Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Blair Keetch, Cat Mills, Lynne Murphy, Ed Piwowarczyk, Caro Soles and Sylvia Warsh.

The launch – our first real-world event since 2019 – was a smashing success! Friends, fans and family crowded Sleuth of Baker Street. To keep everyone safe, we all wore masks and kept readings to 1 to 2 minutes. Longer readings are promised once COVID is well and truly a thing of the past.

Since it was Halloween – a Mesdames tradition – everyone got in the spirit with lots of fun costumes. An especially big thanks to Mme Lisa de Nikolits for creating the wonderful loot bags!

Sales of our anthology were terrific. Lisa’s new book, Everything You Dream is Real and Lynne Murphy’s collected stories, Pot Luck, sold out!

Best of all to show our heartfelt thanks to Marian Misters, owner of Sleuth, for all her wonderful support not just of us but of all Canadian crime writers, we made her an Honorary Mme of Mayhem! More about Marian, our new Mme in next month’s newsletter.


We’ve had two wonderful recognitions. First of all, Jack Batten, crime fiction reviewer at the Toronto Star, gave In the Spirit of 13 a warm review.

Jack said: “There’s more than enough to light up and surprise readers for many nights of pleasure, some of it in easygoing whimsy.” Read Jack’s full review here:

And we were stars in the Toronto Star!

Journalist Briony Smith wrote a full-page article on the Mesdames of Mayhem entitled, “The Mesdames of Mayhem Celebrate A Decade of Dark Deeds – on Paper”. She tells about how we got started, our anthologies and individual books – and most of all, why we love working and being together! 

Read Briony’s article here: The photo is by Henry VanderSpek, the official photographer for Cat Mill’s documentary, The Mesdames of Mayhem.

The Mesdames new anthology, In the Spirit of 13, is featured in the new Sleuth of Baker Street newsletter! Thank you to Marian Misters!


A great month for Mme Lisa De Nikolitis as she debuts her tenth novel, Everything You Dream is Real (Inanna Publications). It’s the follow-up to her hit speculative fiction book, The Rage Room.

Lisa was interviewed by Open Book on November 2nd. You can hear and read it here.

And Lisa was featured in BeachMetro which named her a conduit of fantastical stories! Read the article here.

Mme Mad

M. H. Callway’s story,” Last Island”, is on the featured story on the cover of Mystery Magazine this month!  She’s thrilled because this is her first story so honored. In “Last Island”, a mysterious death in an ice fishing hut leads Danny Bluestone, a young Northern Ranger, on a high-stakes race across the frozen lands. Mystery Magazine is available on Amazon.

Her comedy story, “Must Love Dogs – or You’re Gone”, is one of the 30 stories featured in the anthology, GONE, by UK publisher, Red Dog Press. The publication date is November 15th.

Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard‘s story, “Crows Hoard”, a climate change thriller is one of the stories in the anthology, Nothing Without Us, Too. The publication features authors who are disabled, d/Deaf or hard-of-hearing, Blind or visually impaired, neurodivergent, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness. 


Lisa de Nikolits joins authors from Inanna Publications to launch her new novel, Everything You Dream is Real, on Thursday, November 17th at 7 pm. The event takes place at Danu Social House, 1237 Queen St. West, Toronto.

The real world event is free, one of Inanna’s first since COVID!

Dr. Melissa Yi
Madona Skaff

Check out the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference on December 3rd, 2022. Two Mesdames are on panels.

Mme Melissa Yi is on the Short Story Panel: Get Shorty and  Mme Madona Skaff is on the Suspense Panel: Suspicious Minds.


The Mesdames and Messieurs present at our In the Spirit of 13 Book Launch on October 30 are as follows: Blair Keech, Caro Soles, Cat Mills, Donna Carrick, Ed Piwowarczyk, Jane Burfield, Lisa de Nikolits, Lynne Murphy, M. H. Callway, Marilyn Kay, and Sylvia Maultash Warsh.

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NEWS FLASH! Zoom Launch of In the Spirit of 13 on November 13th

Thirteen is the Mesdames lucky number. We invite you to the Zoom launch of our latest anthology, In the Spirit of 13, on Sunday, November 13th at 2 pm EST.

Come and meet 18 of the authors in person!

IMPORTANT: Please pre-register to attend by emailing

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NEWS FLASH! Launch of In the Spirit of 13 This Weekend!

We’re excited to be back for our first real world event since the start of COVID. Especially since our new anthology, In the Spirit of 13, celebrates the 10th anniversary of The Mesdames and Messieurs of Mayhem!

Do join us! The event is free BUT masks must be worn. It’s Halloween so do get creative!

And already a great review from Jack Batten in the Toronto Star. Jack says:

There’s more than enough to light up and surprise readers for many nights of pleasure, some of it in easygoing whimsy.”

Read his full review here:

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Mesdames on the Move, October 2022

Happy Thanksgiving and Halloween!

This month the Mesdames and Monsieurs have much to be thankful for, including you, dear readers. We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary with our anthology book launch at our fave bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street, and so much more!


 In the Spirit of 13, is set to release on October 30, 2022! Join us at our favourite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto, on October 30 at 2 p.m. ET!

The Mesdames and Messieurs of Mayhem’s fifth anthology, In the Spirit of 13, celebrates our 10th anniversary! Ghosts and demons and booze, oh my!

For this special book, we’ve let our imaginations run wild. Does “spirit” mean a ghost – or a debunked ghost? A demon or the evil harbored in twisted hearts? Or a delusion brought on by alcohol or madness – or merely alcohol itself? Dive in and read our 23 stories to find out!

To counter the world’s dark and turbulent, times our authors have slanted their stories to the lighter side, but darkness does creep into a few of them.

We invite you to laugh, shed a tear and be thoroughly and deliciously frightened.

The ebook, In the Spirit of 13, will be available for download and purchase on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. on October 15th.


Art Taylor has a three-part series of essays featuring stories in In the Spirit of 13 on his The First Two Pages blog.

Mme Lisa’s de Nikolits’s essay about her story, “In a Land of Fear and Denial” was published on September 27th.

Mme Rosemary McCracken‘s essay about her story “The Fur Coat Conundrum” was published on October 4th.

And watch for Mme M.H. Callway‘s essay on her story “Amdur’s Ghost” on October 11th.

Lisa de Nikolits
Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken
M.H. Callway


Old woman or little girl, woman in a dirigible or woman on her death bed, woman in history or the girl next door—we know them because their experiences are ours. Well, maybe not all their experiences…

This second anthology from members of the Canada West Chapter of Sisters in Crime finds women and girls at perilous points in their lives. From real estate agents to house cleaners, school girls to exterminators, you will find a delicious array of women, some with outrage in their hearts—and some with murder—but all of them committing or solving crimes in new and imaginative ways.

The sixteen short stories in Crime Wave: Women of a Certain Age range from light-hearted to heart-breaking, and from romantic to treacherous. All of them deal with courageous women of a certain age.

The e-book can be pre-ordered now at a discounted price.

SinC West’s second anthology, Crime Wave: Women of a Certain Age, will be published on October 15th. Mme Jayne Barnard is both an editor and a contributor.

Jayne Barnard
Jayne Barnard

Mme Lisa de Nikolitis‘ new novel, Everything You Dream is Real will be published by Inanna on Monday, October 17th.

Eleven years after a world war destroyed the consumer-driven, plastic-based existence of 2055, a new order of players jostles for power. Streaky electricity, ravaging drought, a scarcity of food, and deadly Monarch butterflies make for an increasingly desperate situation.


Two of Lisa‘s novels are now audiobooks on Audible: The Rage Room and The Nearly Girl.

You can watch Lisa’s interview with the narrator/reader of The Rage Room on Innana Publications’ YouTube channel.

A Conversation with Lisa de Nikolits and Scott Pietrangelo.

Mme Melissa Yi has been very busy!

Surgery, ghosts, and murder, oh my! Dr. Hope Sze faces the sin of wrath.

Melissa’s medical thriller and debut of her Hope’s Seven Deadly Sins series, The Shapes of Wrath features Dr. Hope Sze vs. the world’s deadliest surgeon at a haunted hospital.

Check it out at Kickstarter, Sept 20-Oct 18th only!

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine’s September/October issue has Melissa’s story My Two-Legs.

Sharp Point Press has bought the Chinese language rights to her Dr. Hope Sze crime novel Scorpion Scheme.

And, Melissa was profiled in the New York Times in August for their “6 Ways You’re Coping With a Roller-Coaster Market” finance article.


Cat Mills

Mme Cat Mills’ new documentaries, The Billboard Squad and Me, Mahmoud and the Mint Plant are blazing along the festival circuit including Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Calgary International Film Festival, Lunenberg Documentary Festival and most recently, St. Johns International Women’s Film Festival.

She is pleased to announce that not only are both films programmed in the upcoming Planet in Focus Film Festival but she has been asked to host this year’s Master Class on October 21st at the Centre for Social Innovation on Spadina.

More information:

If you haven’t seen these two outstanding short docs, you can see them here or on YouTube.

Me, Mahmoud and the Mint Plant
The Billboard Squad


The Zoom launch for the Mesdames new anthology, In the Spirit of 13, will be on Sunday, November 13th at 2 pm. The event is free but you must pre-register at

Sisters in Crime Toronto are celebrating SinC’s 35th anniversary with a hybrid event on Thursday, September 20th, 7 pm. Members only and pre-registration is required. For more details, visit the website here.

Maple Leaf Mystery Virtual Mini-Conference takes place on December 3rd, 9 am. Registration is now open.

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Mesdames on the Move: September 2022

We hope you had a great summer holiday. September begins with a bang for the Mesdames: our last two author interviews leading up to our 10th Anniversary anthology, Jayne Barnard has a new short story and author readings by Lisa de Nikolits and Lynne Murphy.


In this interview, Donna Carrick talks to Melissa Yi, emergency physician, playwritght and award winning author of the Hope Sze medical thriller series. Look for Melissa’s latest critically acclaimed thriller, White Lightning.

Melissa also has a number of short stories to her credit, including “The Mob Bar Mob”, which will appear in In the Spirit of 13, coming Fall, 2022.

The final video of the In the Spirit of 13 interviews features Jane Petersen Burfield, author of numerous short stories, including “Requiem” from In the Key of 13, which was a finalist for the prestigious CWC Best Short Story Award.

Jane shares her writing journey with Donna Carrick and news about her new story, “Whispers” which will appear in In the Spirit of 13, coming Fall, 2022.

Check out the entire series of short interviews with the authors who make up our collective, the Mesdames of Mayhem, and our “Coming Soon!” anthology, In the Spirit of 13.

You can always find the YouTube episodes at Donna Carrick’s Dead to Writes site, under the Season 5 tab.


Lynne Murphy and Lisa de Nikolitis will be reading at Noir at the Bar Toronto on Thursday, September 29th at 7 p.m. Noir is back at the Duke of Kent pub, upstairs at 2315 Yonge St.


Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard’s story “Crow’s Hoard” will appear in the anthology Nothing Without Us Too, to be released on September 15th. and is available for pre-order in ebook, paperback, and/or audiobook formats from RenaissanceChapters-IndigoAnother Story Bookshop, and other online booksellers.

Nothing Without Us Too follows the theme of Nothing Without Us (a 2020 Prix Aurora Award finalist), featuring more stories by authors who are disabled, d/Deaf, Blind or visually impaired, neurodivergent, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness. The lived experiences of their protagonists are found across many demographics—such as race, culture, financial status, religion, gender, age, and/or sexual orientation. We want to present these stories because diversity is reality, and it belongs in literary and genre fiction.

And Don’t Forget

The Mesdames and Messieurs are delighted to announce our 10th Anniversary anthology, In the Spirit of 13: A spirited crime anthology, is now available for pre-order as a Kindle Edition and an e-Pub edition via Smashwords. The ebook goes live for download on Amazon on October 15th. Stay tuned for our book launch dates in the Real World and on Zoom.

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BREAKING NEWS: In the Spirit of 13 is available for pre-order!

The Mesdames and Messieurs are delighted to announce our 10th Anniversary anthology, In the Spirit of 13: A spirited crime anthology, is now available for pre-order as a Kindle Edition and an e-Pub edition via Smashwords.

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NEWS FLASH: Marilyn Kay Interview Is Live

This week Donna Carrick‘s Dead to Writes Podcast features Marilyn Kay, author of short stories, including “Rise Up”, which will appear in In the Spirit of 13, coming Fall, 2022.

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NEWS FLASH: Alex Carrick Interviews Donna Carrick

This week we feature Donna Carrick, author of “The First Excellence”, “Gold And Fishes”, “The Noon God” as well as numerous short stories, including “Beloved Ink”, which will appear in In the Spirit of 13, coming Fall, 2022. Donna is also, along with her husband, Alex, co-owner and publisher at Carrick Publishing, as well as the host of Dead to Writes, the Podcast.

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Attendance is FREE but you must register through Eventbrite. The Mesdames and Messieurs are on several panels!

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Our own Melodie Campbell has written her share of fantasy, funny crime capers and twisted stories. Today she shares a fairytale come true about her own life. Come listen to her CBC Radio 1 interview on 99.1 about her own happy ending with her new husband, Mike O’Connell. The interview with CBC’s Gil Deacon airs today, Friday, August 5, 2022, on Here and Now Toronto at 5:50 p.m.

Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell
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NEWS FLASH: Rosalind Place Interview Is Live!

This week we feature Rosalind Place, author of many short stories, including “A Faint Disturbance of Hope”, which will appear in In the Spirit of 13, coming Fall, 2022. In this interview, Donna Carrick explores with Rosalind how writing a novel has helped her hone her short stories into poetic gems.

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The Lazy Days of August aren’t so lazy for our Mesdames and Messieurs

Books, interviews and author panels are keeping us busy this month, not to mention the growing excitement of our 10th Anniversary anthology, In the Spirit of 13.


In the Spirit of 13 is in celebration of the Mesdames of Mayhem’s TENTH anniversary and our FIFTH anthology.  It will soon be available for pre-order on Amazon through other book outlets.


Madeleine Harris-Callway‘s story, “Must Love Dogs – or You’re Gone”, is one of the stories in the Red Dog Press anthology, Gone. It’s available for pre-order on August 1st.

M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway is also delighted to be a guest blogger on Writers Write. Her topic: “Why I Write Short Fiction”.

Here’s the link:

Mme Jayne Barnard’s story is part of Sisters in Crime West’s second anthology, Crime Wave 2:Women of a Certain Age: A Canada West Anthology. Jayne is also one of the editors.

 Women of a Certain Age is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Jayne Barnard
Jayne Barnard


Mme Donna Carrick is continuing her terrific podcast Dead to Writes with more video interviews with In The Spirit of 13 authors, throughout August and into September. Interviews go live every Wednesday. You can find them on our website and on Donna’s video podcast:

Check out more interviews below.

Aug. 3: Ft: Rosalind Place, story “A Faint Disturbance of Hope.”
Aug. 10: Ft: Donna Carrick (Interviewed by husband Alex Carrick.) Story “Beloved Ink.”
Aug. 17: Ft: Marilyn Kay, story “Rise Up.”
Aug. 24: Ft: Melissa. Yi, story “The Mob Bar Mob.”
Sept. 1: Ft: Jane Burfield, story “Whispers.”


When Words Collide 2022

Several of the Mesdames are on panels. The conference features leading genre writers, including crime writers, Susanna Kearsley and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

You must register for this online festival in advance on the When Words Collide Eventbrite page.

Here’s the panel line-up so far:

Friday, August 12th

5 pm EDT (3 pm MDT) Who Goes There?: Jayne Barnard joins CWC President, Hyacinthe Miller in challenging traditional crime writer tropes rooted in privilege

9 pm EDT (7 pm MDT) Friday Night Dead Social by Crime Writers of Canada

Saturday, August 13th

7 pm EDT (5 pm MDT) If the Uniform Fits: Real and Fictional Female Investigators: Jayne Barnard and Brenda Chapman join two women law enforcement professionals to discuss the realities of policing. Moderated by Merrilee Robson.

9 pm EDT (7 PM MDT) Noir at the Bar: Hosted by Axel Howerton (Tentative)

Sunday, August 14th

5 pm EDT (3 pm MDT) Crossing the Line: M. H. Callway and Therese Greenwood join a panel on the risks and rewards of switching or melding genres.

6 pm EDT (4 pm MDT) Coming up Short: Kevin Thornton joins a panel of leading western crime writers about how to create a complete world and narrative in a few thousand words. Moderated by M. H. Callway.

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi was in Winnipeg on July 12th to teach Playwriting and Play Reading 101 at the Carol Shields Auditorium, Millennium Library. Her play, I am the Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World (and Other True Tales from the Emergency Room), which she performed herself, was a hit at the Winnipeg Fringe festival!

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BREAKING NEWS: Sara Carrick and M. H. Callway Talk Book Cover Design

This time Donna Carrick features cover designer Sara Carrick and author M.H. Callway (Windigo Fire) who share their insights on the creation of a great, eye-catching cover! It’s a fascinating listen about how the cover artist and author work together to come up with enticing covers such as the image for our new anthology, In the Spirit of 13.

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NEWS FLASH: Blair Keech’s Interview Is Live

This week we feature Donna Carrick talked to Blair Keetch, author of many short stories, including “To Catch a Kumiho”, which will appear in In the Spirit of 13, coming Fall, 2022.

Blair’s short story “A Contrapuntal Duet” was the 2019 Winner for emerging crime writers and was included in the most recent Mesdames of Mayhem anthology, In the Key of Thirteen, released by Carrick Publishing and he is now a proud ‘Monsieur’.

His story “Deadly Cargo” was included in the mystery anthology Heartbreaks & Half-Truths, published by Superior Shore Press.

Blair was thrilled to again be part of the Carrick Publishing family with his story “Sleep, Perchance to Die”, included in A Grave Diagnosis.

His latest short story is “Killings 4 Sale” and is part of the Asinine Assassins anthology by Smart Rhino Publishing (late 2021).

Blair Keetch Interview with Donna Carrick
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NEWSFLASH: Melodie Campbell’s Interview Is Live!

An interview with Melodie Campbell always delights. This week, Donna Carrick on the Dead to Writes podcast talks to Melodie about her short story “The Kindred Spirits Detective Agency”, which will appear in The Spirit of 13 Mesdames of Mayhem anthology this fall. Melodie also talks about her many humorous crime stories—short and novella length, some of her not-so-light-hearted short stories— and The Merry Widow Murders, the first book in her historical crime fiction series, due for release by Cormorant in early 2023.

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NEWS FLASH: Cheryl Freedman Interview Now Live

Multi-talented writer, editor, former executive director of Crime Writers of Canada, and writing conference organizer: Cheryl Freedman is all those things and more, including a lover of ferrets. In this podcast, Cheryl talks about her latest story “Possessed” for the latest anthology by the Mesdames, In the Spirit of 13, which includes a young woman with a dead computer, a dybbuk and a squeaky little ferret named Trouble. And that’s just the start of her interview.

Cheryl Freedman joins Donna Carrick’s Dead to Writes Podcast
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Happy Summer, Dear Readers!

Podcast interviews, author bios and notes—we’re busy preparing for our 5th anthology, In the Spirit of 13. And there’s more in August when the virtual writers’ festival, When Words Collide happens.

And now for the pièce de résistance:

Ta-da! Our Cover for In the Spirit of 13

In the Spirit of 13

Many thanks to Sara Carrick for creating this marvelous cover image!


Watch for more author interviews throughout July and August on Donna Carrick‘s Dead to Writes Podcast featuring stories In the Spirit of 13. In this interview, Rosemary McCracken talks about her story “The Fur Coat Conundrum” and the fascinating real-life events inspiring her to write it as well as updates about her Pat Tierney mystery series.


August means the When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. Once again, the festival will be held online. And once again, Mesdames will be participating on the panels. Watch for more details soon.

The festival will run from August 12 to 14, You can register for this virtual festival on WWC 2022 website registration page.

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NEWS FLASH: Rosemary Aubert’s Interview Now Live

Another fabulous interview by Donna Carrick. This time our brilliant and inspirational grande dame, Rosemary Aubert, zooms in on her short story “The Phone” to be published in In the Spirit of 13. She and Donna also share thoughts about Rosemary’s novels, other short stories and poetry. This is the 99th episode of @DeadtoWritesPod. All episodes are now available on both YouTube and Apple Podcast.

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NEWS FLASH: Madona Skaff Interview Now Live!

Join us this week @DeadToWritesPod for Donna Carrick’s excellent interview with Madona Skaff ! Madona talks about her story “Moving On”, which will appear in In the Spirit of 13 this fall.

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NEWS FLASH: WOTS this weekend!

Meet the Mesdames of Mayhem at WORD ON THE STREET, this weekend, June 11 -12th in Writers Block, Booth #WO2.

Buy copies of our anthologies and books by authors, Lisa De Nikolits, Blair Keetch, Lynne Murphy, Rosemary McCracken, Caro Soles and Sylvia Warsh.

And in late breaking news, Lisa De Nikolits will be hosting NOT ABOUT TIME in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE tent on Sat. June 11th at 4:30 pm.

And Donna Carrick’s interview with M. H. Callway and her story, “Amdur’s Cat” in In the Spirit of 13 is now live!

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July-August Kittens with computer and books

June is proving to be the busiest month of 2022 for the Mesdames of Mayhem with the Toronto International Festival of Authors, Word on the Street, Dead to Writes podcasts and reading events – not to mention new book publications and story sales.

And big congratulations to Cat Mills on the release of her new documentary and to Melissa Yi for winning a contest for middle-grade manuscripts held by the International Thriller Writers.


Cat Mills
Cat Mills

Cat Mills’ a new documentary for Al Jazeera launched on May 25th.

The Billboard Squad is about a local activist ‘s fight against illegal billboards in Toronto. Check out this terrific film on Youtube.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, view Me, Mahmoud and the Mint Plant as well,  now on CBC.

Dead to Writes, the Video Podcast

Donna Carrick‘s Dead to Writes podcast is now on YouTube.

Every Wednesday, Donna interviews one of the authors in the Mesdames’ upcoming anthology, In the Spirit of 13, due out this fall.

Check out her interviews with authors Lisa de Nikolitis , Lynne Murphy and Caro Soles. And in June, interviews with Rosemary McCracken, M. H. Callway, Madona Skaff and Rosemary Aubert.



This June, TIFA is focusing on crime writing. Sixty internationally known authors discuss their work and aspects of crime writing, among them the legendary Walter Mosely, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham and Denise Mina. They are joined by leading Canadian authors, Linwood Barclay, Peter Robinson, Kathy Reichs, Ian Hamilton and Shari Lapena. Tickets are available here.

The Crime Writers of Canada has a dedicated tent in the public area where readers can meet authors and buy their books. Also readings are scheduled each day! The Mesdames are well-represented both days, Saturday, June 4th and Sunday, June 5th.

Saturday, June 4th

11 am to 3 pm: Sylvia Warsh, Caro Soles

3 to 7 pm: Madeleine Harris-Callway, Blair Keetch

Saturday Readings, 6 to 7 pm: Madeleine Harris-Callway, Blair Keetch

Lisa De Nikolits

Exciting news: Lisa De Nikolits will be interviewing international crime authors, Chris Brookmyre and Antii Tuomainen on Saturday, June 4th at 4: 30 pm. (Note: This is a ticketed event.)

Chris Brookmyre is a Scottish author of crime and historical fiction, whose work has been described as Tartan Noir.

Antii Tuomainen is one of Finland’s most acclaimed crime fiction writers. His books have been translated into 25 languages.

Sunday, June 5th

11 am to 3 pm: Rosemary McCracken

 3 to 7 pm: Lisa de Nikolitis, Lynne Murphy, Rosemary McCracken

Sunday Readings, 2 to 3 pm: Lynne Murphy, Lisa de Nikolitis, Caro Soles, Rosemary McCracken

QUEER NOIR AT THE BAR: June 8th, 7 pm

In celebration of Pride, hosts Jeffrey Round and Hope Thompson present the inaugual Queer Noir at the Bar, an evening of queer crime fiction readings, on Wednesday, June 8th at 7pm.

Authors include Mme Caro Soles and a reading by actor Greg Campbell from Greg Kramer’s bestselling mystery novel, The Pursemonger of Fugu. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Register for the event here.


The Word On The Street returns to the streets of Toronto with a new (old) home. The 33rd edition of Canada’s largest open-air book and magazine festival takes place June 11-12th on Queen’s Park Crescent from Bloor to Wellesley Street.

WOTS features readings by 100+ authors and an outdoor marketplace showcasing a wide range of Canadian and Indigenous books, magazines, comics, and more for readers of all ages. And the Mesdames will be there!

Caro Soles
Caro Soles

Caro Soles is hosting The Mesdames of Mayhem booth in Writers Block, Number WO2 on northwest corner of Queen’s Park Circle.

She will be joined by Lisa De Nikolits, Blair Keetch, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and Sylvia Warsh.


The Crime Writers of Canada 40th anniversary anthology, Cold Canadian Crime, is up on Amazon. Print copies should be available shortly.

The collection features stories by Melodie Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits, Blair Keetch, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and Sylvia Warsh.

M. H. Callway had two story acceptances in May!

Her dark comedy thriller “Must Love Dogs – or You’re Gone”, was accepted by UK publisher, Red Dog Press for their upcoming anthology, GONE. The book will be published in November 2022.

Red Dog Press is an independent publisher, focused on great crime, mystery and thrillers from unique voices.

And Madeleine’s ice-cold thriller, “Last Island”, has just been sold to Mystery Magazine. Publication date to be announced.

The story features characters from her novel, Windigo Fire. Danny Bluestone and Corazon Amorsolo must deal with a rogue bounty hunter in the freezing cold of border town Fort Frances.

Caro Soles’ latest Merculian mystery, The River District, is now available on Amazon.

An alien evil threatens the fun-loving, dual-gendered inhabitants of Merculian. Young people are getting sick from alien party drugs, celebrated dancer Eulio is receiving menacing notes from a stalker and a body is discovered in the Pleasure Gardens.

Then on opening night, Eulio disappears. Marlo and the Regulators discover dark secrets linked to the ruthless Terran criminal and his gang who have taken possession of the River District. Can Marlo act quickly enough to save their beloved city?


Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi who recently WON the contest held by the International Thriller Writers Organization for best middle grade crime fiction manuscript featuring a BIPOC sleuth.

The prize was a $1000 scholarship toward attending ITW’s Thrillerfest in New York City, May 31st to June 4th. That’s where Melissa Yi is now, because one of the judges, legendary children’s author, R.L. Stine, asked to meet her.

And big congratulations to Mike Martin and the MLMC team for the smashing success of this year’s Canadian virtual mystery conference. If you missed one of the panels, don’t worry. As long as you registered for MLMC, the recorded sessions will be available for viewing shortly.

Fingers crossed for a Real World MLMC in 2023!

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NEWS FLASH: Meet the Authors In the Spirit of !3

Today Donna Carrick, publisher of In the Spirit of 13, the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fifth anthology, interviews contributing author, Lynne Murphy. Lynne talks about the inspiration for her two stories in the collection: “The Trespassers”, an eerie tale in which a grandmother is haunted by two small children and the light-hearted revenge story, “Gracie, The Invisible Dog”.

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NEWS FLASH! Mme Melodie Campbell and Linwood Barclay on May 19th

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NEWS FLASH! Meet the Authors in The Spirit of 13

Donna Carrick, publishing editor of The Spirit of 13, is interviewing the contributing authors. Her first interview is with Lisa De Nikolits where Lisa reveals her inspiration for her story, “A Land of Fear and Denial”.

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May is an exciting month for crime writers, but this year especially so for the Mesdames and Messieurs with new books and publications. Not to mention the thrill of the upcoming CWC Awards of Excellence and the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference, our new national crime writers conference!

Congratulations – and Fingers Crossed!

Melissa Yi
Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell

Crime Writers of Canada will announce the winners of the 2022 Awards of Excellence on Thursday, May 26th at 1 pm. Broadcast on YouTube.

Melissa Yi’s story, “Dead Man’s Hand”, published in EQMM in 2021, is a finalist for the CWC Award of Excellence for Best Short Story.

Melodie Campbell’s mentee, Delee Fromm, is nominated for CWC Award of Excellence for Best Unpublished Novel for her manuscript, The Strength to Rise.

Fingers crossed!

Congratulations to Cat Mills!

The Billboard Squad

Cat Mills’ latest film, The Billboard Squad, is a 25 minute short documentary for Al Jazeera Witness. It is scheduled to be released on May 23rd.

Dave Meslin is a 47-year-old Canadian activist in Toronto known for his campaigns to defend public space from commercial interests. For 15 years, he’s been lobbying the city to remove illegal billboards from neighborhoods across Toronto.

Dave has a team of volunteers, including his 11-year-old niece, who gather intel and strategize on how to bring down the billboards. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to reclaim a local green space. But as the Billboard Squad clashes with power, bureaucracy and inertia, Dave grapples with the emotional complexities of activism.

Cat’s documentary will be available for streaming on the Al Jazeera Witness website and on Youtube.

New Books and Publications!

Sylvia Warsh

Read Sylvia Warsh’s story, “The Natural Order of Things”, in this month’s issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May/June).

In mid-May, Sylvia is a guest on EQMM’s blog where she reveals how she changed from a literary writer to a life of crime… writing.

Jayne Barnard
Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard‘s story, “Crow’s Hoard”, will be published in Nothing Without Us Too, the follow-up to the anthology, Nothing Without Us, a 2020 Prix Aurora Award finalist. The books feature stories by authors who are disabled, d/Deaf or hard-of-hearing, Blind or visually impaired, neurodivergent, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness.

Trapped in her small apartment after a flood forces everyone else to evacuate, chronically-ill Carmel expects to die, even welcomes it. But when she tells the crows who trade her their treasures for snacks that she won’t be there tomorrow, they bring her a choice she could have never predicted.

Release date, September 15, 2022.

Jayne has a second story in the new anthology from Sisters In Crime Canada West, Crime Wave: Women of a Certain Age. In “Midsummer Day’s Dream” our favorite sleuthing B&B hosts are juggling a Shakespeare on the Beach production and a painters’ retreat. But drug deals, old grudges, and a fire on the mountain spell Midsummer disaster for their fledgling business.

Crime Wave: Women of a Certain Age will be published Fall, 2022. We’ll be sharing the cover reveal as soon as it’s released!

On May 15th, the Crime Writers of Canada will release their 40th anniversary anthology, Cold Canadian Crime.

Stories by Melodie Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits, Blair Keetch, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and Sylvia Warsh are included in the collection – a terrific showing by the Mesdames of Mayhem!

Exciting Events!

Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken was interviewed on May 5th by CWC’s Erik D’Souza as part of a series of interviews for the Cold Canadian Crime anthology.

Watch Rosemary’s interview on CWC’s Facebook page and on YouTube.

Lynne Murphy
Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy’s book launch for Potluck and Other Stories was a big success. She had guests from England, Jersey in the  Channel Islands, BC, Winnipeg, Ottawa. Many of the Mesdames were in attendance. You can watch the launch on YouTube here

The Maple Leaf Mystery Conference, our new national crime writers conference, takes place on Zoom from May 24 to 28th. Registration is only $25 and features interviews with internationally recognized authors, Ian Rankin and Maureen Jennings. Sign up here.

The Mesdames are an integral part of the conference with ten of us conducting interviews or moderating and participating on the panels.

Catherine Astolfo
Catherine Astolfo
Madeleine Harris Callway
M. H. Callway
Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell
Donna Carrick
Lisa De Nikolits
Lynne Murphy
Lynne Murphy
Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken
Madona Skaff
Jane Petersen Burfield
Jane Petersen Burfield
Caro Soles
Caro Soles

Here’s the panel schedule. Do join us!

·       Wednesday, May 25th, 8:15 pm Melodie Campbell, Lynne Murphy, Caro Soles are on the panel, Deadly Laughter

·       Friday, May 27th, 2 pm, Melodie Campbell interviews best-selling author Ian Rankin

·       Friday, May 27th, 3:15 pm, M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken and Jane Petersen Burfield are on the panel, The Big Short

·       Friday, May 27th,  5:45 pm, Madona Skaff is on the panel, Changing Faces in Crime/Mystery Writing

·       Saturday, May 28th  , 2 pm, Catherine Astolfo and Lisa de Nikolits are on the panel, Maple Leaf Murder East

·       Saturday, May 28th, 5:45 pm, Donna Carrick moderates the panel, Love with a Mysterious Twist

Looking Ahead to June!

June will be another crazy busy month for the Mesdames, including the Big Reveal of our cover for In the Spirit of 13.

On June 3 to 4th, The Toronto International Festival of Authors has invited members of the Crime Writers of Canada to do readings, sell books and meet readers.

On June 8th, an inaugural Queer Noir at the Bar will be held during Toronto’s Pride Week with guest reader, Caro Soles.

On June 11-12th, Word on the Street returns to Queen’s Park with Caro Soles and many Mesdames hosting a booth.

And on June 18th, Lisa De Nikolits will be reading at the CanLit AuthorFest.

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The Mesdames of Mayhem were delighted when the new national crime writers conference was announced. And we’re also delighted to speak to Mike Martin about the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference.

Mike is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower mystery series. He is the Past Chair of the Board of the Crime Writers of Canada and a member of the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild, Ottawa Independent Writers and Capital Crime Writers.

The Mesdames: Congratulations! Tell us how MLMC came about.

Mike Martin: The Maple Leaf Mystery Conference has been a long time in the works. Ever since the untimely demise of Bloody Words, Canadian mystery authors, fans and readers have been longing for a Canadian mystery conference.

There was some momentum before the pandemic, but like all in-person events, that took a backstage to staying safe and healthy. Now, we’re back on track with this year’s Virtual conference and next year we are dreaming of an in-person conference. Fingers crossed.

The Mesdames: How did you decide on the name for the conference?

Mike: That was easy. We wanted it to be distinctly Canadian and what’s more Canadian than a maple leaf? MLMC is open to all readers and authors whether they love hard-boiled or cozy crime fiction. Our Author Panels reflect that as well.

The Mesdames: What would you love to see happen with MLMC?

Mike: Connect readers and writers. That’s the primary goal of any literary conference. Next, give readers a chance to ask their favourite author a question they’d always wondered about. And lastly, to build the audience for mystery and crime writing and whet the appetite for an in-person event.

The Mesdames: What are the big challenges with a virtual conference?

Mike: Finding ways to make a virtual event feel real for both authors and readers can be a challenge. Making it easy to register and participate on a Zoom conference platform is crucial. It may look the same on your screen, but behind the scenes, there’s lots of activity to make it all look simple. And we may lose some people who are Zoomed out or just don’t like the technology, who may have otherwise joined an in-person event. That’s always too bad.

The Mesdames: Writers First, the host of the conference, is breaking new ground for services to authors. Do tell us more.

Mike: For far too long, independent authors have been at the mercy of unscrupulous companies that promise them everything and deliver little but an expensive bill at the end of the process. We wanted to change that by offering services that are first-rate and affordable for emerging and existing authors who want to make their writing dreams become a reality.

Writers First offers a full range of services from industry professionals to help support independent writers. They include everything from manuscript evaluation to editing, publishing, distribution and marketing. All in one place. Our goal is to help writers create better books and to allow them to keep most of the profit from their labours.

The Mesdames: And please tell us about yourself and your award-winning Sgt. Windflower mystery series!

Mike: I was born in St. John’s, NL, but I live and work in Ottawa, Ontario. I set the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series in beautiful Grand Bank. There are now 12 books in this light mystery series with the publication of Dangerous Waters.

A Tangled Web was shortlisted in 2017 for the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn won the 2019 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. I’ve also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present.

Follow the Sgt Windflower Mysteries on Facebook.

The Mesdames: How can Canadian authors and fans help make the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference a terrific success?

Mike: Tell everybody about MLMC and encourage them to attend. Social media is a great place to do that. Please like the Writers First Facebook Page and our Instagram account. Then share all the great news that some of the members of Mesdames of Mayhem will be featured authors on Author Panels.

The Mesdames: Register for the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference here. And be sure to visit the Writers First website for full conference details here.

Instagram @writersfirst


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Mesdames on the Move: April 2022


April not only begins awards season but also offers new opportunities for growth and exciting new ways the Mesdames can reach out to you, dear readers. Cat Mills has two new films, Lynne Murphy‘s collection of short stories includes a new novella and Lisa de Nikolits is interviewed as part of an international conference. And speaking of conferences, M. H. Callway is featured in Left Coast Crime and a number of Mesdames are featured in Canada’s first Maple Leaf Mystery Conference in May.


Potluck and other Stories (Carrick Publishing), Lynne Murphy‘s new anthology is now available in paperback and ebook from Amazon. Four of the stories in Potluck have been published in anthologies from the Mesdames. The book also includes a novella, “A Damaged Heart.”

The Zoom launch for Potluck is set for Saturday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m.

For a glimpse into the background, her humour and the darker side of Lynne Murphy‘s imagination, read Rosemary McCracken‘s excellent interview with Lynne on Rosemary’s Moving Target blog. It’s a virtual feast of information and fun about our Golden Funny Girl, Lynne Murphy. Rosemary also provides links where you can buy Potluck and Other Stories.


Cat Mills is excited to announce she has two films coming out!

Me, Mahmoud and the Mint Plant is a short animated documentary about a Canadian nurse in war-torn Iraq, who uncovers the secret behind a mysterious man and his beloved mint plant. The film is on CBC Gem and YouTube.

Cat Mills

The Billboard Squad is a 25-minute documentary for Al Jazeera Witness. The film won the 2020 Hot Docs Short Pitch competition.

For 15 years, activist Dave Meslin has been fighting to remove illegal billboards in Toronto. As he struggles to tear down two notorious eyesores, he must face his demons of burnout, suicide and the death of his beloved mentor.

The Billboard Squad will be released on Al Jazeera Witness broadcast and YouTube channel on May 9th.


Borka Richter, Associate Professor at Kodolányi János University of Applied Sciences | KJU · Department of English Language and Literature, interviewed Lisa de Nikolits as part of the International conference “Seizing the day: Current Research in Global Englishes”. The conference was hosted online by Kodolányi János University, Budapest.

Lisa spoke about Global Englishes in her writing, from a South African and Canadian perspective.

Left Coast Crime Conference

The Left Coast Crime conference is in Albuquerque, New Mexico from April 7 -10. On Friday, April 8th, 2:45 p.m., M. H. Callway is on the short story panel, Let’s Keep It Short. On Saturday, April 9th, 1:30 p.m., Madeleine is moderating the panel on noir fiction, What’s Noir Got to Do With It? There’s also a strong representation of members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, including a get-together breakfast on April 9th.


The Maple Leaf Conference takes place over five days, May 24 to 28. It will be a virtual thrill for mystery lovers—readers and writers alike— with daily Author Spotlight sessions and panel discussions.

Interviewers for the Author Spotlights and panel moderators and members are now confirmed. Mesdames participating on panels and interviews are the following: Melodie Campbell (interviewer and panel member); Donna Carrick (panel moderator); Madona Skaff (panel member); Lynne Murphy (panel member); Caro Soles (panel member); Madeleine Harris-Callway (panel member); Rosemary McCracken (panel member); Jane Burfield (panel member); Catherine Astolfo (panel member); and Lisa de Nikolits (panel member).

There are more Author Spotlights, including Maureen Jennings and other leading Canadian crime writers and more panels, too. For the full program, visit the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference web pages.

Author Spotlight: Ian Rankin Interviewed by Melodie Campbell

Ian Rankin, Author Spotlight
Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell

Melodie will interview Ian Rankin. Author Spotlight. Friday, May 27 at 2 p.m.

Changing Faces in Crime/Mystery Writing: Moderator Hyacinthe Miller

Some unique voices in Canadian crime fiction. Mystery writers who write from differing perspectives, featuring characters who are BIPOC, LGBTQ or have a physical disability. Panelists: Anthony Bidulka, Liz Bugg and Madona Skaff.

Love with a Murderous Twist: Moderator Donna Carrick

Romance in a mysterious setting. Great love stories inside a life of crime. Maybe just a great love interest that plays a role in solving a mystery. Panelists: Hannah Mary McKinnon, Joan Donaldson-Yarmey, Linda Cahill and Amy Tector.

Deadly Laughter: Moderator Joan O’Callaghan

Can Murder be funny? Even in the tensest situations, we sometimes need a laugh or two. Crime and mystery with a touch of mirth. Panelists: Melodie Campbell, Lynne Murphy, A. J. Devlin and Caro Soles.

The Big Short: Moderator Merrilee Robson

Sometimes the best-told tales are short ones. Short crime and mystery stories have been around forever. Hear from some of Canada’s best. Panelists: Madeleine Harris-Callway, Rosemary McCracken, Jane Burfield and Alice Fitzpatrick.

Maple Leaf Murder East: Moderator Judy Penz Sheluk

Mystery and mayhem from Ontario and Quebec. Authors with tales of murder and suspense from big cities and small towns. Panelists: Michael Foley, Catherine Astolfo, J. A. Menzies and Lisa de Nikolits.

Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell
Cathy Astolfo
Jane Petersen Burfield
Jane Burfield
Donna Carrick
Lisa de Nikolits
Madeleine Harris Callway
Madeleine Harris-Callway
Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken
Lynne Murphy
Lynne Murphy
Caro Soles
Caro Soles

For full conference details, visit the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference site. Tickets for the entire five-day event can be purchased for just $25! Register early and get a tote bag!

Note: Coming mid-April is an in-depth interview with Mike Martin in conversation with M. H. Callway. Mike chaired the CWC for many years and is the founder of the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference.


All stories are in for the Mesdames’ fifth anthology, In the Spirit of 13. Stand by for the cover reveal, coming soon.

Announcement of the Shortlists for the 11 Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence takes place on Wednesday, April 20, 7 pm. The event will be virtual again.

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NEWS FLASH! Save the Dates May 24 to 28, 2022

Announcing the virtual Maple Leaf Mystery Conference from May 24 to 28th. Registration is open and only $25 and if you register now, you may get a cool, free tote bag. Here’s the link:

This is a wonderful opportunity to see and hear leading crime fiction writers Ian Rankin and Maureen Jennings, as well as favourites such as Vicki Delany, Rick Mofina and Iona Whishaw. There will also be an exciting array of panels focused on new and emerging writers and—of course, readers—with other noted Canadian authors. You won’t want to miss this first Writers First Canadian Mystery Conference, sponsored by Crime Writers of Canada and the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Panel Moderators

Although the Programme is still being finalized, the Mesdames can already boast of having two of our members on Panels. Donna Carrick will moderate the Love with a Murderous Twist panel and Madona Skaff will participate in the Changing Faces on Crime/Mystery Writing panel.

Donna Carrick
Madona Skaff
Madona Skaff

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It’s a March to Spring, Dear Readers!

While the last of winter ebbs to spring, things are definitely opening up again. On offer is a yummy potluck of Lynne Murphy’s stories, an eye-opening discussion of the pros and cons of Indie publishing with Madona Skaf, Melodie Campbell’s witty and wise workshop on humour in crime fiction and M. H. Callway in-person at Left Coast Crime.


Carrick Publishing is publishing Lynne Murphy‘s collection of short stories. Potluck and Other Stories will be coming out in March.

Lynne Murphy
Lynne Murphy


Madona Skaff

Join Madona Skaff and Mike Martin on Wednesday, March 9th, at 7pm for their presentation to Capital Crime Writers: Indie Publishing: A Fun Adventure or Evil Torture? Mike is the author of the award-winning Sgt Windflower mystery series set in Grand Bank, Nfld. If you’re interested in attending, please email Madona at for the Zoom link.

Self or Indie Publishing is growing in popularity among authors. With so many publishing platforms available, how do you choose one? Should you do print, e-books, or both? How much time and money are you willing to invest on the road to success? And what does success mean to you? Our speakers tonight will explain how they did it. They will take you through a few essential steps to creating the best book that you can.

Melodie Campbell Workshop Over My Dead Body: Humour in Crime Fiction

Melodie Campbell gets called names! The Toronto Sun called her “Canada’s Queen of Comedy,” and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine dubbed her the “Canadian literary heir to Donald Westlake.” We just call her awesome.

On March 17th, members of Toronto Sisters in Crime host Melodie Campbell for her workshop Over My Dead Body: Humour in Crime Fiction.

Join Melodie as she shows you how she does it (with examples) and breaks down the various types of humour you can include in your own work or merely enjoy in your reading. So whether you’re a reader or a writer, Melodie‘s presentation promises to be filled with wit and wisdom.

Note: The workshop is for members only. Visit Toronto Sisters in Crime website for information on how to join.

Winner of 10 awards, including The Derringer (US) and the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence, she has multiple bestsellers and was featured in USA Today. Her publications include over 100 comedy credits, 16 novels, and 60 short stories, but she’s best known for The Goddaughter mob caper series.

Left Coast Crime 2022: Southwest Sleuths

Madeleine Harris Callway

M.H. Callway will be attending Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico from April 7 to 11th. She is honoured that LCC has asked her to moderate a leading panel and to be a panelist on another in prime time.

Madeleine is moderating the Noir panel, What’s Noir Got To Do With It? on Saturday, April 9th at 1:30 pm.

She is also on the panel, Let’s Keep It Short: Cozies to Noir, Friday, April 8th at 2:45 pm.


Capital Crime Writers is once again sponsoring the Audrey Jessup Short Story Contest – Open to Ottawa and surrounding area residents. The story must include a crime.

Deadline April 1, 2022.

For more details please see:

Or email:

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NEWS FLASH: Six Mesdames Have Stories in the Upcoming Crime Writers of Canada’s 40th Anniversary Anthology


Out of 46 submissions to the special 40th Anniversary Crime Writers of Canada’s Anthology: Cold Canadian Crime, the stories from five Mesdames and one Monsieur have been selected as part of the 21 stories in the anthology. Cold Canadian Crime is scheduled for release in May 2022.

Congratulations to Melodie Campbell, Lisa de Nikolits, Blair Keetch, Sylvia Maultash Warsh, Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy.

Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell
Lisa de Nikolits
Blair Keetch
Blair Keetch
Sylvia Warsh
Sylvia Maultash Warsh
Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken
Lynne Murphy
Lynne Murphy

For a complete list of the writers whose stories were selected for the CWC anthology, visit the Crime Writers of Canada website.

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NEWS FLASH! Fun Facts about Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Sylvia Warsh
Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh is the Edgar award-winning author of the Rebecca Temple series of crime novels. She was born in Germany to Holocaust survivors. Listening to her mother’s stories, sparked a life-long interest in history, especially WW2.

Sylvia writes both crime and literary fiction. In addtion to winning the Edgar for Best Paperback for Find Me Again, Sylvia’s work has been short-listed for numerous awards including the CWC Awards of Excellence, the Derringer, Anthony and Relit Awards.

Her literary novel, The Queen of Unforgetting, was chosen by Project Bookmark Canada for a plaque in Little Lake Park, Midland, Ontario, where the book takes place.

The Mesdames: Outwardly you’re respectable, but you have a secret…

Yes! When I meet people I look them over to see if they’d make a good character. I feel like a spider with compound eyes, taking in every detail. I wish I could say that I write it all down and keep it on file, but I’m not that organized.

 The Mesdames: LOL! What other secrets can you share with us?

Some decades ago, I was frustrated with my writing. I gave it up for two years while I drew and painted and took art classes. I didn’t realize I could draw until I tried it. I even had an exhibit in a library for a month.  

The Mesdames:  That’s amazing. But how you did return to writing?

I used what I learned from dabbling in art in my mystery series featuring Dr. Rebecca Temple. She’s a young widow whose late husband was an artist, so she has learned a lot about art by osmosis.

The Mesdames:  How have you used art in your writing?

Art is one of the themes in my first book, To Die in Spring. Rebecca recognizes paintings when she sees them in a suspicious character’s house. There’s also the question of a famous painting by Raphael, Portrait of a Young Man, stolen by the Nazis during World War II and still missing.

 “The Veiled Heart” and “The Cabin in the Woods” are two of my recently published short stories with art themes.

The Mesdames:

“The Cabin in the Woods,” was published in Murder Most Geographical, a Malice Domestic Anthology, 12018. “The Veiled Heart” appeared in Down and Out Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1.

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February Brings Love, Dear Readers!

Have we got a boxload of goodies for you this February! Books, podcasts, a play, a super webinar to get you reading and writing short stories, a hilarious but wise take on writing and more writing resources.


 Melissa Yi’s play, The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World (and Other True Tales from the Emergency Room) was accepted to the 2022 Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work in Calgary.

Catherine Astolfo’s book of two mystery novellas, Twice the Chit, featuring The Flower Pots from Chittendom Creek, is now available as a paperback. 

Two murderous romps in one! Chittendom Creek is the site of the ReVisions Retirement Residence, the home of Kira Callahan and owned by Kira’s beloved sister. Along with her gang of retired hippies (the Flower Pots), Kira is forced to solve a mystery when oldies start dropping like flies. In the second adventure, Kira and the Pots venture out of RRR into dangerous territory to solve yet another mystery. Kira and the Pots are engaging, hilarious, but very successful amateur sleuths. Both the Pots and the plots will keep you guessing right up to the last page.


Are you struggling to read during this time of Covid? Are you struggling to finish reading a book you’ve picked up? And, if you’re a writer, are you struggling to write? These posts will help lift you out of the doldrums!

Check out Lisa de Nikolitis‘ new podcast, I Read Somewhere That. Her latest two: Why Stephen King will help your writing and How Patricia Highsmith will change your life will light up your reading and writing.

Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell’s latest post on Sleuthsayers is her hilarious take on writing: Wanna Be a Paperback Writer. Here’s a taste.

I used to tell my writing classes that you need three things to become a writer:  You need talent.  You need to learn the craft.  And you need passion. I’ve now decided that the most important thing you need to continue to be a writer is a healthy sense of humour! (and a big supply of scotch).

On January 13th, Melissa Yi was on the Writers Block podcast to talk about her new book, White Lightning. The podcast can reach up to 600K people. She enjoyed a Corpse Reviver cocktail for courage! Here’s the link:

Melissa Yi


On January 18th, Donna Carrick presented a Webinar: Short Story Writing for the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) webinar series. Her webinar is now available on YouTube.

Donna Carrick talks about the craft of short-story writing via Crime Writers of Canada


The Rage Room by Lisa de Nikolits

A lovely review of The Rage Room by Lisa de Nikolits penned by writer Sharon A. Crawford of the Beyond mystery series.  Devour: Art & Lit Canada, issue 12, Winter 2021-2022 by Wet Ink Books –

De Nikolits has created a futuristic novel filled with more twists and turns than a country road married to a maze. She uses suspense, humour, imagination, science, and some very quirky characters with distinctive characteristics. … Setting is also important in futuristic novels and de Nikolits does not disappoint. The reader cannot only see, but hear, and smell the sweat running down Sharp’s neck and clothes; the dead bodies lying on the stairs and sidewalks of St. Polycarp as it begins reverting to a natural existence.

Then there are the two ultimate settings: the actual jumps and the rage room. The reader becomes a part of the novel. The plot, setting, and characters combine to provide an interesting dilemma – should Sharks (sic) fix his past so he can erase his fatal mistakes, or must he still suffer the consequences of his actions? The reader needs to remember the three elements of the novel as they all play a part in The Rage Room. No spoilers here. To find the answer, you must read The Rage Room. Make time to read it.”


Kerri Cathers, who was interviewed by Rosemary McCracken a few weeks ago, has published her first newsletter, A Curiosity of Crime. It’s a free resource for historical writers. You may subscribe on the A Curiosity of Crime website.

Sam Wiebe, one of Canada’s leading crime writers, is teaching an online creative writing course at University of Toronto: Plotting and Writing a Mystery. It is for both established and emerging authors. For more information: 2698 – Plotting and Writing a Mystery, School of Continuing Studies – University of Toronto.

Fun Facts About…

The next Fun Facts About… will be on Sylvia Warsh. Watch for it in mid-February.

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New Year Kitten
A New Year, Readers!

Greetings Readers!

As promised, here is Part Two of our annual round-up for 2021.

The Mesdames were incredibly busy in cyberspace taking part in conferences, book launches, readings and interviews.

We launched new regular features this year: Fun Facts share some secrets about the Mesdames and Messieurs. and Best Bookstore Friends. We’ll be continuing these in 2022!

And we’ve expanded our reach in social media, thanks to our Twitter Goddess, Jayne Barnard.

But nothing can replace the Real World. Fingers crossed that COVID fades out FOR GOOD and we can meet you later in 2022.

Zoom! Zoom!

Virtual Conferences!

Ontario Library Technicians Association Conference, May 8-15, 2021

MH Callway
Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell
Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken
Caro Soles
Melissa Yi

Several of Mesdames took part in the Crime Writers of Canada panels at the week-long conference. M. H. Callway and Melissa Yi discussed The Long and Short of It, Writing Short Stories and Novellas; Melodie Campbell and Caro Soles, talked comedy writing on Make ‘Em Laugh, Comic Relief to Comic Caper; and Rosemary McCracken lent her expertise on creating settings on Clearly Canadian, All Canadian Settings, eh?

And Melodie joined the CWC Author Spotlight Special Discussion Panel to talk about her body of crime fiction!

When Words Collide – Multi-genre Conference, August 13 to 15, 2021

Jayne Barnard and M. H. Callway participated in and /or moderated several panels: Writing Groups and How to Run Them; The Heroine’s Journey Continues on the changing role of women protagonists; Twisted on plot twists; Short Stories as Stepping Stones on developing a career in short fiction as a step toward novel publication; Love of the Land – The Importance of Place in Fiction; Crime Fiction in 2021: Trends and Evolution; and Big Crimes, Small Towns as a unique setting for mystery novels.

Caro Soles drew on her expertise in crime and speculative fiction to tell emerging writers about Cross-Genre Writing. Melissa Yi provided one-on-one author-writer consultations at the Blue Pencil Café.

Book Launches in Cyberspace!

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff launched her SF thriller, Shifting Trust, with a cover reveal and book trailer on May 29th and the official FaceBook event on September 15th.

The cover BTW is by her talented daughter, Louise Koren!

On December 11th, Renaissance Press hosted Deck the Halls with Books, a virtual holiday party, to celebrate their new book releases, including Shifting Trust!

Melissa Yi

On December 1st, Melissa Yi launched her latest book, White Lightning, a Prohibition-inspired thriller with a virtual speakeasy launch party.

Artisan distiller, Nathalie Gamache of Gin*Eco*Logic taught us how to mix a vintage cocktail called, appropriately enough, the Corpse Reviver #2. Spoiler alert: it’s delicious!

Caro Soles
Caro Soles

Caro Soles read and talked about her latest book in the speculative fiction Merculian series, The Colony Dancers.

See her talk on YouTube here.


Lisa de Nikolits
Lisa de Nikolits

Throughout the year, several Mesdames appeared on interviews and podcasts: M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken, Madona Skaff and Caro Soles.

But the most interviewed Madame was Lisa De Nikolits, who even appeared on an Italian blog to discuss the Italian translation of her novel, No Fury Like That.

Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken

On March 16th, Rosemary McCracken gave a Zoom presentation about Writing a Crime Fiction Novel to Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW). OIW has been supporting both fiction and non-fiction writers in the National Capital Region since 1986. It has more than 180 members.

And on May 13th, Rosemary spoke about crime fiction to Na’amat Canada, a non-profit volunteer Jewish women’s organization dedicated to improving the lives of families in Israel.

MH Callway

M. H. Callway joined a stellar line-up of guest authors at Toronto’s Noir at the Bar on June 24th, including Edgar nominee, C. S. O’Cinneide and best-selling author, Robert Rotenberg.

Madeleine read from her short story, “The Moon God of Broadmoor”, in Judy Penz Sheluk’s anthology, Moonlight and Misadventure.

A big thank you to Hope Thompson and Robert Brunet for their ongoing support of Canadian crime fiction.

Sisters in Crime Toronto

Madona Skaff
Melissa Yi

Madona Skaff spoke to SinC Toronto on March 18th about When Art Imitates Life and how to draw from real life without turning your fiction into autobiography.

On July 15th, Melissa taught the audience how to make sure medical details in your manuscripts are true to life. She also fielded a Q&A on common medical mistakes in crime fiction.



In September, Lisa De Nikolits launched her newest venture, I Read Somewhere That, a podcast AND a website. ireadsomewherethat

Lisa’s episodes and blogs contain fab debate, reviews of hot new books, advice and lots of buzzy book gossip about the publishing industry. Books to be featured are published by Inanna Publications, Breakwater Books Ltd., Dundurn Press and Wolsak and Wynn Publishers.

Best-selling author, Linwood Barkley appeared on Episode 10 of her Apple Podcast in 2021 – and the Mesdames were featured in Episode 9. You can subscribe here.

Fun Facts About..

The Mesdames launched two new features in our newsletter/blog communications in 2021, both of which we’ll be continuing in 2022.

If you were curious about what lies beneath our respectable facades, check out Fun Facts About and you learn that some of us have survived three terrorist bomb attacks, been strong-armed by security on a Royal Tour and even done a hula dance for the Mayor of Atlantic City.

Big thanks to Rosemary Aubert, Jane Burfield, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and Kevin Thornton for sharing their adventures.

Rosemary Aubert
Rosemary Aubert
Jane Petersen Burfield
Jane Burfield
Lynne Murphy
Lynne Murphy
Kevin Thornton
Kevin Thornton

Best Bookstore Friends

Cathy Dunphy
Cathy Dunphy

Bookstore owners and librarians are an author’s best friends! Cathy Dunphy and Melissa Yi kicked this new venture off the ground and interviewed the owners of R and L Book Nook in Alexandria, Ontario.

And a big thank you to Madona Skaff for the in-depth interview of her favourite book store, Perfect Books in Ottawa, Ontario.

A Fond Farewell to Bony Blithe

Cheryl Freedman

Bony Blithe is retiring. She’s had a great run over the past 10 years, but now it’s time for our bony lass to rest her weary bones. Cheryl Freedman and her team thank all the publishers and authors who’ve made the Bony Blithe Light mystery award a huge success and gave us so many delightful books to make us smile.

Skellngton Bony Blithe
Bony Blithe

And a Big Thank you to editors Marilyn and Roz for their hard work!

Marilyn Kay
Marilyn Kay
Rosalind Place
Roz Place
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Happy New Year


The Mesdames and Messieurs of Mayhem had a fabulous year in 2021 in print and cyberspace.

We accomplished so much the past year that once again our annual review is in two parts. Part One tells you about the recognitions we received and lists our book and story publications. Part Two outlines our appearances in cyberspace plus our new social media ventures.

Hope the joke 2020, 2020-WON and 2020-TOO stays a joke! And that we’ll be seeing you in the Real World soon in the New Year.

Great News for 2022!

Donna Carrick

We’re delighted to confirm that the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fifth anthology, The Spirit of 13, will be published in 2022 by Carrick Publishing, Donna Carrick is our editor.

Spirit means ghosts or debunking of same, demons, joie de vivre, alcohol- whatever our wild imaginations brew up.

Stayed tuned for our cover reveal and publication date later this year!

Awards and Recognitions!

Jayne Barnard
Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard edited Sisters in Crime West’s first anthology, Crime Wave with author Karen L. Abrahamson.

Why the Rock Falls

It was a great debut: “Cold Wave”, by Marcelle Dube won the Crime Writers of Canada Best Short Story Award for 2021. And the novella, Salty Dog Blues, by Winona Kent, was a finalist for the CWC Best Novella Award.

And Jayne’s thriller, Why the Rock Falls had a warm review by CBC’s Anne Logan.

Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell signed a contract with Cormorant Books for her new mystery series, The Merry Widow Murders, set in the 1920s.

She’s also a regularly featured author on leading crime fiction blog, Sleuthsayers. And she wrote the foreword to Crime Wave!

Cormorant Books
Lisa de Nikolits
Lisa De Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits‘s dystopian thriller, The Rage Room, was a finalist for the 2021 International Book Awards for Science Fiction.

Rage Room has received terrific reviews on Good Reads and the Miramichi Reader among many other review sites.

The Rage Room
Cat Mills
Cat Mills

Cat Mills was a finalist for Best International Director at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival – for the wonderful documentary she made about us, The Mesdames of Mayhem!

And yes, that’s Melbourne, Australia!

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff’s thriller, Death by Association, the second book in the Naya series, was listed as one of the Best Books of 2020 by Jamieson Wolf.

Death by Association
Caro Soles

Caro Soles‘ historical novel, Dancing with the Chairs in the Music House (Inanna Publications) won the Bronze Medal in the IPPY Awards, Canada East Best Regional Fiction.

Dancing with Chairs in the Music House
Kevin Thornton
Kevin Thornton

Congratulations are due to Kevin Thornton for his NINE short story acceptances in 2021. That’s more than 70,000 words, the length of a novel!

Sylvia Warsh
Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh‘s story, “Days Without Name”, was a finalist for the CWC 2021 Awards of Excellence for Best Short Story. “Days Without Name” was published in the anthology, A Grave Diagnosis, Donna Carrick, editor (Carrick Publishing)

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi’s gripping thriller, Scorpion Scheme, was a finalist for Best Thriller at the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion 2021 Awards and listed as one of the Best Books of 2020 by Jamieson Wolf.

Scorpion Scheme

Big congratulations are due to Melissa for her SIX story acceptances in 2021. Plus she was a winner in the International Thriller Writers Best First Sentence contest.

Melissa accomplished all this while working as an emergency physician during COVID. She is our hero!!

Published Books and Stories!

COVID did not keep the Mesdames and Messieurs down. Indeed 2021 proved to be an amazingly successful year for us with the publication of FIVE new novels and 17 short stories and essays. In addition, we re-released SEVEN of our earlier novels and had SEVEN of our short stories reprinted.

For full details on our recent publications, see our Year End Book Review for 2021.

Catherine Astolfo

The Grand Art of Murder is Cathy Astolfo’s latest thriller (Moe Publications).

Cathy also re-released her Emily Taylor mystery, The Bridgeman plus two of her hilarious Chittendom stories, Twice the Chit.

Rosemary Aubert
Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert‘s new novel is September, the love story of an older couple (Westwood Books Publishing). The beautiful cover is a painting by her husband, artist Douglas Purdon.

Jayne Barnard
Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard re-released three books in her critically acclaimed YA steampunk series, the Maddie Hatter Adventures, Deadly Diamond, Gilded Gauge and Timely Taffeta (Clockworks and Crime Media).

MH Callway

M. H. Callway‘s short story, “The Moon God of Broadmoor”
appeared in the well-received anthology, Moonlight and Misadventure, editor Judy Penz Sheluk, (Superior Shores Press).

Her story, “Incompetence Kills”, first published in EFD 1: Starship Goodwords (Carrick Publishing), was reprinted in the 2021 BOULD anthology.

Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell released the first two books in her historical fantasy Rowena series on Audible: Rowena Through the Wall and Rowena and the Dark Lord.

Lisa de Nikolits
Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits‘s critically acclaimed, The Rage Room, is now available on Audible.

The Rage Room
Blair Keetch
Blair Keetch

Blair Keetch‘s story, “Killings 4 Sale”, is part of the black humor anthology, Asinine Assassins (Smart Rhino Publishing). And his story, “200 Miles to Murder” was published by Dark and Stormy Book Club.

Rosemary McCracken
Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken‘s suspense story, “The Passenger”, was published in Mystery Weekly Magazine, one of North America’s leading zines for short crime fiction.

Madona Skaff
Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff’s speculative fiction crossover mystery, Shifting Trust, was published by Renaissance Press. The striking cover was designed by her daughter.

Caro Soles
Caro Soles

Caro Soles’s latest speculative fiction crossover mystery, The Colony Dancers, was published by Mystique Press. It is the fifth book in the Merculian Mystery Series featuring Inspector Marlo.

Kevin Thornton
Kevin Thornton

Kevin Thornton’s story, “One Good Thing”, is one of the hilarious tales in the anthology, Asinine Assassins. And he sold eight Sherlock Holmes stories. Six were published in 2021 (MX Publishing), two are scheduled for 2022. For a full listing of Kevin’s Sherlock Holmes stories, please see our Year End Book Review.

Sylvia Warsh
Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh sold her suspense story, “The Natural Order of Things” to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine for publication in 2022.

Her essay, “Recreating the Past” appeared in the Mystery Readers International Journal.

Two of Sylvia’s short stories were reprinted: “Family Values” in the 2021 BOULD Awards and “The German Credit” in What We Talk About When We Talk About It. (Dark House Books).

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi had an incredible year. Her ninth Hope Sze mystery, White Lightning, was published in December (Windtree Press) and she still found time to publish five short stories

Here’s the list: “Dead Man’s Hand” in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; “Flamingo Flamenco” in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine; “The Three Little Prigs” in Burly Tales; “The Bao Queen” in Food of My People; and “Catgirl, Heart and Skin” in Artificial Divide. Her story, “Humans ‘n’ Hot Dogs” was reprinted in both Amazing Stories and Speculative North magazines.

And we wouldn’t be here without….

Marilyn Kay

A huge thank you and big hugs to Marilyn Kay and Roz Place for their hard work updating the world about the Mesdames and Messieurs throughout the year!

Rosalind Place
Roz Place
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Dear Readers It’s a Brand New Year!

New Year Kitten

Our Mesdames and Messieurs are already hard at work to bring you a new anthology later this year. And we look forward to a year of new publications, webinars and other events each month, beginning with Donna Carrick’s webinar on short story writing.


Blair Keetch

Congratulations to Blair Keetch. His Flash Fiction story “Glimmers” appeared in the online magazine Shotgun Honey on December 23rd.

Congrats to Melodie Campbell. Her sci-fi noir story,” A Ship Called Pandora”, was reprinted and featured on the cover of Black Cat Weekly Magazine Issue 14.

Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell
Lisa de Nikolits

Check out Lisa de Nikolits‘s latest blog post, “Goodbye to 2021! What I’m looking forward to in 2022!” on Goodreads. In the post, she gives you a sneak preview of her upcoming book Everything You Dream is Real, which is a sequel to her latest book, Rage Room. She also shares an interview she had with Chapters4Change about Rage Room.

A friendly reminder about our December books now available on Amazon:

September by Rosemary Aubert

September by Rosemary Aubert, available on kindle.

Rosemary Aubert
Rosemary Aubert

Shifting Trust by Madona Skaff-Koren, available on Amazon in paperback or kindle.

Madona Skaff
Madona Skaff

White Lightning: Prohibition and Predators. by Melissa Yi, (Melissa Yuan-Innes) Book 9 of the Hope Sze series. Available on Amazon in paperback or kindle.

Melissa Yi


Donna Carrick is giving a webinar in the Crime Writers of Canada 40th Anniversary Webinar Series. Donna will speak about Short Story Writing on January 18th, 7 pm EST. The webinar is FREE to professional and associate members of CWC. One of the many benefits the CWC provides to its Professional and Associate members is access to the Webinar Series Archive. Emerging and established writers can access an amazing array of topics from Medical Mystery Mistakes (Mme Melissa Yi) to poisonous plants to talking with a real-world detective. 

New Resource for Writers of Historical Mysteries

Attention all authors of historical mysteries: a new resource is available through the website, A Curiosity of Crime, created by Toronto writer and editor, Kerry Cathers. Kerry earned her doctorate in medieval warfare from the University of Reading. Mme Rosemary McCracken has an in-depth interview with Kerry on her blog, Moving Target.

Rosemary McCracken

Also, check out Rosemary‘s latest post on Shelley Workinger’s blog, But What Are They Eating? It will make your mouth water. Not only that, but it also provides a glimpse into Rosemary‘s time as a food critic for the Calgary Herald.

July-August Kittens with computer and books

Friendly reminder that submissions to the Derringer Short Story Awards are now open, deadline January 31st. You must be a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society to submit a story. If you are not a member, a friend who is a member may submit your story for you. For the complete submission rules, check out: The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Derringer Awards Policy (2018)


Stay tuned for Wow What a Year, the Mesdames’ round-up of their highlights in 2021!

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Honoring Betty White

Wonderful thoughts from a wonderful, inspiring lady!

Joanne Guidoccio

Betty White passed away on Friday, less than three weeks away from celebrating her 100th birthday. Actress, comedienne, author, and animal rights activist, she is one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons. Best known for her roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, Ms. White had a television career that spanned more than eight decades. In the 2014 edition of “Guinness World Records” she was certified as the longest ever female entertainer.

My favorite quotations from Betty White:

Butterflies are like women — we may look pretty and delicate, but baby, we can fly through a hurricane.

In my head, I’m the ultimate cougar. Animal lover that I am.

I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.

The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.

Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They…

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Happy Holidays, Dear Readers!

What better way to enjoy December than to snuggle up with a terrific new book!

The Mesdames and Messieurs of Mayhem are serving up a banquet of goodies: cozy crime, thrillers, whodunnits, noir, Sherlockania, romance and speculative fiction. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday!


Thirteen, an anthology of Crime Stories
13 o'clock anthology

13 Claws Anthology
In the Key of 13 Anthology


The Colony Dancers (The Merculians)
SF / Crime
The Grand Art of Murder
The Rage Room
SF / Thriller
Romance – Coming Soon
Shifting Trust
SF / Thriller
Uncharted Waters (Pat Tierney thriller)

What You Take With You
White Lightning
Historical Thriller
Why the Rock Falls (The Falls Mysteries)
Outdoor Thriller
Death by Association
Mystery thriller


The Maddie Hatter Steam Punk Series

Deadly Diamond (Maddie Hatter)
Gilded Gauge (Maddie Hatter)
Timely Taffeta (Maddie Hatter)

More Series Favorites

The Bridgeman (Emily Taylor Mystery)
Rowena Through the Wall
Now on Audible!

Amazing Anthologies

Asinine Assassins Anthology
Stories by Blair Keetch and Kevin Thornton
Artificial Divide Anthology
Story by Melissa Yi

BOULD Awards Short Story Anthology
Stories by M. H. Callway and Sylvia Warsh
Burly Tales Anthology
Story by Melissa Yi
Food of My People Anthology
Story by Melissa Yi
Moonlight & Misadventure Anthology
Story by M. H. Callway
Crime Wave Anthology
Story by Jayne Barnard
What We Talk About When We Talk About It Vol 2
Story by Sylvia Warsh
A Grave Diagnosis Anthology
Stories by many of us!

For Fans of Sherlock Holmes

All with Stories by Kevin Thornton

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories (1897-1928)
Sherlock Holmes: After the East Wind Blows Part 1
Sherlock Holmes: After the East Wind Blows Part 2
The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories (1889-1897)
The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories (1877-1887)
The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories (1895-1903)

Mayhem in Magazines!

Story by Melissa Yi
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine March/April 2021
Story by Melissa Yi
Amazing Stories Summer 2021
Stpry by Melissa Yi
Mystery Weekly Magazine Aug 25 2o21
Story by Rosemary McCracken
Mystery Readers Journal Historical Mysteries II
Essay by Sylvia Warsh
Speculative North Magazine Issue 4
Story by Melissa Yi
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Happy Holidays, Dear Readers!

Wow! This past year has been a rollercoaster of book launches, short story publications and online events for our Mesdames and Messieurs And December is no exception. But in between the flurry of activities, we are taking time for our loved ones during this season of merriment and goodwill. We wish you too will find peace, love and hope among you and yours. And, of course, time to put up your feet and read some books.


Big congrats to Melissa Yi for her new thriller, White Lightning, which launches on December 1st at 7:30 p.m.

Melissa Yi

Melodie Campbell

Mega congrats to Melodie Campbell for her contract with Cormorant Books for her new series, The Merry Widow Murders, set in the roaring 1920s. An unconventional heiress with a mysterious past is traveling from New York to London in 1928 via steamship when she discovers a murdered man in her stateroom. Can’t wait to read it!

On a thought-provoking note: Melodie goes serious and writes a compelling blog about violence against women in crime fiction. Here’s the link: SleuthSayers: How Much Violence Against Women can YOU Read in your Fiction?

Congrats to Kevin Thornton for his terrific success in publishing NINE Sherlock Holmes stories in 2021 plus his tale, “One Good Thing”, in Asinine Assassins. That’s a word count of more than 70,000! Here’s the complete list for all readers who are secret – or not so secret – Bootmakers: list follows:

Kevin Thornton

Asinine Assassins, “One Good Thing”. Note: Blair Keetch’s story ‘Killings 4 Sale’ is also in this anthology.

Sherlock Holmes, After the East Wind Blows, Part I, “The Odd Telegram’.

Sherlock Holmes, After the East Wind Blows, Part III, “The Odd Event”.

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XXII, 1877 – 1887 Some More Untold Cases – “The Dundas Separation Case”. 

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XXIV, 1895 – 1903 Some More Untold Cases – “The Murdered Millionaire”. 

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XXX, More Christmas Adventures – “Christmas Magic”

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XXX, More Christmas Adventures – “Santa’s Little Elves”. 

Sherlock Holmes: A Year of Mystery 1882 – “The Spofforth Effect” COMING SOON! – Belanger Books

The Nefarious Villains of Sherlock Holmes, Volume II – “The Adventure of the Lustreless Client” COMING SOON! – Belanger Books


December 7tth, 7 p.m. CWC Ottawa / Eastern Ontario Region, is hosting a Facebook Event with Perfect Books on Elgin StreetMadona Skaff joins Mary Jane Maffini and other great local crime writers to read from her latest book, Shifting Trust.

Here is the link to join:

Madona Skaff

Join Madona Skaff on Saturday, December 11th from 4 to 6 p.m. for a celebration of the holidays and new releases from Renaissance Press. As part of the festivities, readings and prizes, Madona will read from her latest book, Shifting Trust. To join the fun, register at Eventbrite.

Shifting Trust and other Renaissance release

Lisa de Nikolits has an interview with Chapters4Change on December 8th. You can catch the interview on the Chapters4Change Interview page.

Lisa de Nikolits

She is also reading from her latest book, Rage Room, on December 21st at Hirut Cafe, Danforth just west of Woodbine as part of the Bright Lit, Big City Reading Series.

The Rage Room

The CWC / SinC holiday party on Zoom on Saturday, Dec 11th at 7 pm EST. Fun, Pub Quiz and prizes. For members of CWC and SinC only.


December 15th is the submission deadline for the CWC Awards of Excellence.

December 31st is the submission deadline for the CWC 40th Anniversary Anthology, Cool Canadian Crime

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SECOND GREAT NEWS FLASH! Melodie Campbell Signs Book Deal with Cormorant Books!

Melodie Campbell
Melodie Campbell

Mega Congratulations to Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, who just signed with Cormorant Books to publish her new book, The Merry Widow Murders. Mel thanks Marc Cote at Cormorant and Brenna English-Loeb at Transatlantic Agency.

In the Merry Widow Murders, An unconventional heiress with a mysterious past traveling from New York to London in 1928 via steamship, discovers a murdered man in her stateroom on their first night at sea.

We Mesdames and Monsieurs can’t wait to read it!

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NEWS FLASH! Melissa Yi’s Speakeasy Book Launch, December 1st, 7:30 pm

Melissa Yi

Big congrats to Mme Melissa Yi for her new book,  White Lightning, a Prohibition-inspired thriller.

On December 1st at 7:30 ET, you’re invited to join Melissa’s virtual speakeasy launch party. Artisan distiller, Nathalie Gamache of Gin*Eco*Logic will teach you how to mix a cocktail called the Corpse Reviver #2. Vintage 1920’s clothes optional but encouraged and cheered.

Register here:

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Happy November Cat

Happy November, Dear Readers!

New stories, ventures in the online world and events await you and our Mesdames and Messieurs.


Melodie Campbell

Congrats to Melodie Campbell who is now a featured author on SleuthSayers blog every month.

Check out her latest post, “Wanna Be A Paperback Writer? The Truth About Author Incomes” at SleuthSayers.

M. H. Callway’s and Sylvia Warsh’s stories will appear in the 2021 BOULD Awards Anthology. The anthology is available on Kindle now. Edited by Jake Devlin. Anthologies from previous years are available on Amazon. BOULD stands for Bold, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless and Daring.

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert’s novel, September, is a love story about a couple in their senior years. The 2021 publication date TBA shortly.


Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits’ now biweekly podcast, I Read Somewhere That…is a smashing success. In Episode 10, Lisa chats with bestselling author Linwood Barclay and shares a crucial tip from a top book agent. Episode 11: I Read Somewhere That… is also up. As well as The Miramichi Reader, all episodes of the podcast are available on Spotify and Apple iTunes. And don’t forget to subscribe to her podcast for notifications of future episodes.

See her on Instagram too!

Lisa also has a fun post scheduled for Dietrich Kalteis’s blog on the 10th of November – You’ll see her fun Q+A on whether one should use current politics and people in a novel you’re currently writing. You’ll be able to see it at 7 Criminal Minds blogspot.


NaNoWriMo begins on November 1st. During November, established and emerging authors are challenged to write a total of 50000 words or roughly 1700 words/day. Lots of support is provided through seminars and write-ins held by Sisters in Crime.

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Jane Burfield
Jane Petersen Burfield

Jane is an award-winning author of short fiction. She loves to show the darkness that lurks behind the facade of sweet domesticity and respectability. Recently she is experimenting with writing for young adults. Her story, “There Be Dragons”, was a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for Short Stories.

Mesdames: How do your readers see